Ganpati Bappa has finally arrived. While the arrival is a little muted this year given the pandemic protocols, but it’s definitely a love-filled welcome. Getting into celebratory mood are singers Anuradha Paudwal, Shibani Kashyap, Shilpa Rao and music composer Palaash Muchhal.
Anuradha Paudwal, the voice behind many Bollywood hits like Dhak Dhak Karne Laga, Mujhe Neend Na Aaye among others, and religious songs like Jai Ganesh Deva, calls Ganpati the harbinger of auspicious beginnings. “I fervently pray to Ganeshji that he relieves all of us from these trying times,” the veteran singer says, who brings home an eco-friendly Ganesh idol made from rice.
For Delhi-born Shibani Kashyap, the festival was a new experience when she landed in Mumbai over a decade ago. “I knew about Diwali and Holi. But when I came to Mumbai 11 years ago, I was bowled over with the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. It was a new culture and festival I was introduced to. I found the the idea of bringing Ganpati Bappa home. really exciting,” Shibani says. “Also, the festival gives an opportunity to visit friends’ houses and meet everyone,” Shibani adds. The Sajna Aa Bhi Jaa singer says she was fascinated with the thought many people put in when it comes to the idol they bring home. “But I prefer an eco-friendly murti. That’s my way of doing my bit for the environment,” she shares.
Shibani’s home resonates with songs dedicated to the Bappa. “In fact, I created one with Ramji Gulati called Ganpati Bappa Morya. It’s a fusion version of a Ganpati song,” Shibani informs.
While the singer has been getting Bappa home every year, 2021 is different. “Keeping Covid restrictions in mind, I won’t be bringing Bappa home this year. Rather, I will visit friends’ places for darshan,” she says, and hopes the Vighnaharta makes the pandemic go away.
Echoing similar sentiments, Shilpa Rao wishes that Bappa gives everyone good health, happiness and peace. Taking a stroll down memory lane and sharing an anecdote from her childhood, Shilpa says her grandmother took charge of the preparations for Ganpati puja — with a little help from the singer and her brother.
“It was more about establishing a cultural connect with family and people around, rather than celebrating it as just a religious festival. The idea of making special food and inviting friends and relatives home was to spread a sense of togetherness and community well-being. And through all that my grandmother was also trying to give us glimpse of the varied aspects of Indian culture,” she says.
Shilpa’s family has been keeping an eco-friendly idol at home since 2013. “It’s a clay murti without paint or colour and is water soluble so that we can easily do the visarjan at home. In fact, I always look for an idol that has a seed or a sapling inside it, so that when you put it in a pot, it grows into a plant.” Along with chants of Bappa Morya, her house reverberates with Ganpati special songs as well. “There is a beautiful Ganpati song by Hariharanji’s mother, Alamelu Mani, which we play,” the Ghungroo hitmaker shares.
In pre-Covid times, the arrival of Bappa at music composer Palaash Muchhal’s home was marked with energetic beats of dhols, and guests dropping by for darshan. “But due to the pandemic, we have kept it low-key. We will be inviting only close friends and relatives,” says Palaash, who is gearing up for his Bollywood directorial debut with Ardh.
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